Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Wreckers Cripple African Liberation Support Committee

First Published: The Call, Vol. 5, No. 8, June 21, 1976.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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A handful of ultra-“leftist” phrasemongers has done more in the past few months to wreck the African Liberation Support Committee (ALSC) than open revisionists and narrow nationalists were able to do in years.

ALSC, at one time (1972), mobilized tens of thousands of people, primarily from the Black community, in militant support of the African liberation struggles. Now more than ever before, with Africa more seriously threatened by the rivalry of the two superpowers, the U.S. and the USSR, and with the liberation movements moving towards continent-wide victory, the contribution made by ALSC is necessary. But the destructive role of a few groups operating under the cloak of “Marxism” has sabotaged this work.

Two groups in particular, the Revolutionary Workers’ League (RWL)–a member of the so-called “Revolutionary Wing”–and the Congress of African People (CAP), who are both relative newcomers to Marxism-Leninism, have provided the clearest examples of how not to do communist work in a mass people’s organization.


These two groups include people who at one time played a role in the building of ALSC, although their political ideas were not scientific; they were heavily influenced by Pan-Africanism. They then turned in the direction of Marxism. But their turn towards the revolutionary ideology of the working class was never fully completed. They fell to grabbing at bits and pieces of Marxism Leninism while still maintaining the stand and outlook of the petty-bourgeois intellectual. Thus the RWL and CAP substituted abstract sloganeering for real communist leadership in ALSC.

They promoted the line that party building, rather than being the central task of communists, was “the only task.” Their line included the sectarian view that ALSC or any other mass organization, could not be built among the people until after the party had already been organized. Instead of working with the growing trend towards Marxist-Leninist unity and building the party in the storm of mass struggle, these dogmatists counterposed party building to agitation among the masses.

They put forth the backward view that propaganda to a few advanced workers was the only activity called for in this period and raised the slogan of “Build the Party” as the only slogan for the ALSC. At the last ALSC National Secretariat Meeting held April 16-17, RWL put forth the view “that African Liberation Day should move away from being mass demonstrations.”

In place of these mass actions, RWL proposed calling a series of forums on “party building.” In this way, they have succeeded in driving away thousands of militant fighters against imperialism and colonialism from the ranks of ALSC simply because they were not yet committed to or conscious of Marxism-Leninism but were anxious to join in the world-wide movement for African solidarity.

By restricting the scope of communist activity at this time to a handful of only the “most advanced,” RWL and CAP failed in their communist duties and handed over leadership of the people’s movement to the various opportunist and revisionist groups who had previously been isolated and unable to gain that leadership.

The revisionist Communist Party, for example, has tried for years to crush ALSC as a mass organization. Following the massive ALSC demonstrations on African Liberation Day 1972, the CP announced the launching of their “new” organization, “The National Anti-Imperialist Movement in Solidarity with African Liberation.”

With Angela Davis and other prominent revisionists in the leadership, and thousands of dollars to play around with, the revisionists flew their favorite representatives from the pro-Moscow organizations in Africa to speak in the U.S. Their clearly stated aim at the time was to grab the leadership of the growing support movement “away from the Maoists and Pan-Africanists” and to smash ALSC. Their emphasis on Africa at the time was laying the groundwork for the Soviet intervention and occupation in Angola which were to follow later. ALSC was correctly seen as a “dangerous” force that could defend the legitimate aims of the African struggle for genuine independence from colonialism and imperialism old and new–U.S-style as well as Soviet-style. But the “Wing’s” wrecking activity enabled the current crisis in Angola to go by the board with little ALSC response.

Also involved in ALSC were the narrow nationalist forces who preached that African support should be based on race only and who promoted such bankrupt theories as Black people not being part of the U.S. working class, but rather citizens of Africa. They tried to turn ALSC into a cultural organization rather than an instrument of anti-imperialist struggle.

With the exposures of RWL and CAP’s splitting and wrecking role in ALSC, the once-defeated revisionists and narrow nationalists have begun to make a comeback. Following RWL’s call to have no African Liberation Day demonstration this year, over 2,000 Afro-Americans rallied in Washington, D.C. on May 22 under the leadership of the well-known misleader Stokely Carmichael. The opportunism of the RWL and CAP, characterized by “left”-sounding rhetoric, in fact proved itself to be right-opportunist in essence. Not only did it give leadership over to the revisionists and narrow nationalists, but it discredited the work of all genuine communists and set back the work of building the new party among the advanced workers.

In our efforts to forge a new vanguard party of the working class, propaganda is the chief form of activity, particularly in winning the advanced section of the working class to the party. But propaganda must be closely combined with mass agitation in order to keep the party from ending up in isolation from the masses it is trying to lead.

The correct policy of combining party building with mass struggle among the people should be carried out at all times. The party must be built in the heat of the mass struggle which goes on independently of anyone’s will. The mass struggle is a testing ground for communists as well as a training area for developing the revolutionary cadre that will some day be able to lead the revolutionary struggle to victory.

The policies of the “Wing” are policies of defeat. They are bound to lead to setbacks and to play right into the hands of the revisionists.

It is the task of the Marxist-Leninists to break from and to combat these opportunist policies. To build the party is not contradictory to building the struggle for African liberation support on a revolutionary and mass basis. Organizations like ALSC can be built on such a basis, but only in continuous struggle against the right-opportunists, revisionists and narrow nationalists on the one hand, and the splitters like RWL and CAP on the other.